US Army’s FARA engine hits testing milestone



by Gillian Rich

The US Army concluded the First Engine to Test milestone of the General Electric T901 engine, which will be used in the service’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. (US Army)

The General Electric T901-GE-900 Improved Turbine Engine (ITE) finished First Engine to Test (FETT) requirements on 28 June, the US Army said on 7 July.

The army had announced on 23 March that it conducted the first ‘light-off’ off General Electric’s T901 FETT, meaning power was produced by igniting fuel in the engine. That kicked off over 100 flight hours as part of testing procedures.

More testing is ahead for the engine.

Preliminary Flight Rating testing will start in the fourth quarter and will continue through 2023. Eight T901 engines will be tested to satisfy Army Military Airworthiness Certification Criteria (AMACC) standards by undergoing 1,500 engine test hours to meet “design, production, and continuing airworthiness”. The army said in total the engine will perform 5,000 hours of testing before full engine qualification.




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Australian Army makes HIMARS procurement bid



by Jon Grevatt

Australia has requested to procure 20 M142 HIMARS launchers from the US government, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on 26 May. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The US Department of State has approved the possible sale of Lockheed Martin’s M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to Australia.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on 26 May that the Foreign Military Sale of 20 M142 launchers and associated weapons and equipment is estimated to cost USD385 million. The proposed deal needs approval by the US Congress.

In addition to the M142s, equipment in the deal include 30 M30A2 guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS), 30 M31A2 GMLRS unitary high-explosive pods, 30 XM403 extended range alternative warhead pods, and 10 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) munitions.

DSCA said the proposed deal supports US security objectives in the Indo-Pacific. “The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with US forces and other allied forces,” it added.




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Switzerland details recent robotic and autonomous systems programmes



by Olivia Savage

Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre are experimenting with robotic systems that combine both wheeled and legged locomotion. (ETH Zurich)

The Swiss Federal Office for Defence Procurement (armasuisse) is trialling robotic quadruped, remote-controlled spider excavators and various drones.

The Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre (SDRZ) are experimenting with robotic quadrupeds that combine both wheeled and legged locomotion, Mark Höpflinger, Head of the SDRZ told
Janes
at the SMi Military Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2022 (SMi MRAS 2022) conference, in London.

An initial trial held in 2019 discovered that the system was slow and ineffective, even on flat terrain, Höpflinger explained.

The locomotion concept was further developed, and in 2021, a research demonstrator discovered that the system was able to drive up to 40 km/h and had the capability to walk on rough terrain or stairs.

SDRZ is also working with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to increase the payload capability to 60 kg, Höpflinger noted.

Possible future applications for such robotic systems include supporting search-and-rescue, MEDEVAC, CADEVAC, CBRNE operations, Höpflinger said.




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NATO Response Force deploying as Russia meets resistance



by Nicholas Fiorenza & Thomas Bullock & Ashley Roque

NATO leaders have activated their emergency military response force as a defensive measure for the first time. The move comes as Russian troops continue their push into the Ukrainian capital city and refugees are fleeing into neighbouring countries.

On day two of the Russian invasion, NATO held a virtual summit of allied leaders and announced that elements of the NATO Response Force (NRF) and its Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) would deploy to alliance’s eastern flank.




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